Saturday, September 7, 2013

Transpersonal Psychologies (VI)

excerpts from "Higher States of Consciousness" in States of Consciousness, by Charles Tart (1975):

Three systems for value-ordering d-SoCs [discreet states of consciousness] are described below to illustrate that explicit and detail orderings are possible. Two are from the Buddhist tradition and one from the Arica traditions. While none of these is scientific, each is capable of being cast as a scientific theory and tested. 

    Figure 17-3 presents an ordering of nine d-SoCs that are all higher than ordinary consciousness. These are d-SoCs[2] to be obtained sequentially in seeking enlightenment through a path of concentrative meditation in Buddhism. 

     The underlying value dimension here might be called freedom. The Buddha taught that the ordinary state is one of suffering and entrapment in the forms and delusions of our own minds. The root cause of this suffering is attachment, the (automatized) desire to prolong pleasure and avoid pain. The journey along the Path of Concentration starts when the meditater tries to focus attention on some particular object of concentration. As he progresses, his concentration becomes more subtle and powerful and he eventually moves from formed experiences (all form has the seeds of illusion in it) to a series of formless states, culminating in the eighth jhana, where there is neither perception nor nonperception of anything. 

    Figure 17-4 illustrates another succession of higher states within the Buddhist framework. Here the technique involves not one-pointed, successively refined concentration, but successively refined states of insight into the ultimate nature of one's own mind. Starting from either the state of Access Concentration (where ability to focus is quite high) or the state of Bare Insight (proficiency in noticing internal experiences), the meditater becomes increasingly able to observe the phenomena of the mind, and to see their inherently unsatisfactorily character. The ultimate goal is a state called nirodh, which is beyond awareness itself. Nirodh is the ultimate accomplishment in this particular version of Buddhism, higher than the eighth jhana on the Path of Concentration. The reader interested in more detail about these Buddhist orderings should consult Daniel Goleman's chapter to Transpersonal Psychologies {128}. 

    The third ordering (Figure 17-5) is John Lilly's conceptualization of the system taught by Oscar Ichazo in Arica, Chile. More background is available in the chapter by John Lilly and Joseph Harts in Transpersonal Psychologies {128}, as well as in Lilly's Center of the Cyclone {35}. 

    In the Arica ordering the value dimension is one of freedom and of which psychic center dominates consciousness. The numerical designation of each state indicates the number of cosmic laws supposedly governing that state, as expounded by Gurdjieff (see Kathy Riordan's chapter on Gurdjieff in Transpersonal Psychologies {128} and Ouspensky {48}), with a plus sign indicating positive valuation of that state. For example, in the +3 state only three laws govern; a person is less free in the +6 state, where six law govern. A minus sign indicates negative emotions. Thus the ordinary d-SoC, the-24 state, is a neurotic one of pain, guilt, fear, and other negative emotions. The-24 state is also under 96 laws, making it less free, as the number of governing laws doubles at each lower level. 

    Lilly notes that this ordering of highness does not hold for all possible tasks in this scheme. The +12 state and higher, for instance, involve a progressive loss of contact with external reality and so become lower states if one has to perform some external task like driving a car or eating. 


-- Charles Tart, 1975 

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